There are many descriptions of Auschwitz, they are easily found on the internet. Going there in person, the day after you found your family home in Nasielsk, north of Warsaw, is another matter. That research also revealed that Szmuel Grossman born in the 1880s, (uncle to Samuel —David’s father), was murdered at Auschwitz in 1942 brings it Home, (with a capital H for Home).
David and I carried two rocks from the Jewish Cemetery in Nasielsk, Poland to Auschwitz to place at the memorial there in memory of Great Uncle Szumel. It was a very tender moment.
The most shocking exhibit was the re-creating of drawings made by Mendel’s twins on the walls of the hospital. There were a couple that were very striking.
Some of the most dramatic facts we learned at Auschwitz were that 3,250,000 Jewish people declared Poland as their home, whereas many European countries had less than a 1,000,000 Jewish citizens. So Poland had the largest loss of doctors, lawyers, and other educated middle class intellectuals with the skill sets to keep a country functioning. This reverberated through Poland for decades. Decades to rebuild a professional medical, academic, engineering and business cadre, all the while functioning under Communist rule. I have a new found respect for the peoples of Poland.